U.S. at OSCE: If Russia wants peace in Ukraine, it must cease impeding SMM’s work

If Russia truly wants peace in Ukraine, it must cease impeding the work of the SMM and afford its monitors the full freedom of movement needed to fulfil their mandate.

A U.S. Mission to the OSCE said this during a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna on Thursday, June 24, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.

"Last week, our Russian colleague noted Russia’s interest in seeing peace return to Ukraine. So allow me to be helpful by offering a few recommendations for Russia to achieve that goal. While Russia trots out tired denials of its direct role in the conflict in Ukraine, the Special Monitoring Mission documents a stream of ceasefire violations from Russia-controlled territory, which undermine the peace process and endanger the lives and welfare of Ukrainians. Last week, the SMM was restricted from moving past a checkpoint of armed formations in southern Donetsk. Its UAVs again experienced multiple instances of GPS signal interference and its long-range UAV flight was cancelled due to dual GPS signal interference, assessed as jamming. While conducting an announced mini-UAV flight in an area north of Donetsk controlled by Russia-led forces, the Mission heard five bursts of small-arms fire aimed at the UAV, forcing the monitors to land it and depart the area," said Chargé d’Affaires, a.i., James E. Donegan.

According to the diplomat, if Russia truly wants peace in Ukraine, it must cease impeding the work of the SMM and afford its monitors the full Freedom of Movement needed to fulfil their mandate. "We all agreed to this mandate here in the Permanent Council, yet Russia actively undermines its OSCE commitments through its actions," he noted.

In addition, the United States reaffirmed its unwavering support for Ukraine's sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders, extending to its territorial waters.

"We do not, nor will we ever, recognize Russia’s purported annexation of Crimea. We join our European and other partners in affirming our Ukraine-related sanctions against Russia will remain in place until Russia fully implements its Minsk commitments and returns full control of Crimea to Ukraine," the Mission stressed.

ish

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